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An adventure on the Southern Ocean – Part II

Thuany Costa de Lima is a third year PhD student in the Seismology & Mathematical Geophysics group at RSES. Her PhD focuses on investigating the physical properties of the deep Earth structure in the light of seismological tools, from the inner core to the mantle.

In my first post on ‘An adventure on the Southern Ocean’, I talked about the multiple reasons for us to come on this research voyage. Today, I would like to elaborate a bit more on why this is one of the toughest field works a seismologist could ever do, share with you some of the amazing photos of the wildlife we could spot from the boat, and describe the real fun I had while living on a vessel!

Continue reading “An adventure on the Southern Ocean – Part II”

An adventure on the Southern Ocean – Part I

Thuany Costa de Lima is a third year PhD student in the Seismology & Mathematical Geophysics group at RSES. Her PhD focuses on investigating the physical properties of the deep Earth structure in the light of seismological tools, from the inner core to the mantle.

Below 40°S there is no law, and below 50°S there is no God.”

I recently heard this old sailors’ saying for the first time after stepping on-board the Marine National Facility (MNF) Research Vessel (RV) Investigator. I was far away from the Australian mainland, and close to accomplishing a ground-breaking milestone for scientists: using seismology to investigate the 3D structure of the Macquarie Ridge Complex!

Continue reading “An adventure on the Southern Ocean – Part I”

Marine microfossils – Earth’s microscopic climate recorders

17 September 2020

Kelly-Anne Lawler is a second-year PhD candidate in the Palaeoenvironments and Biogeochemistry groups at RSES. Her research focuses on Southern Ocean palaeoclimate reconstructions.

Popular science articles about Earth’s climate in the past, like this one about Hothouse Earth, or this one about past carbon dioxide levels, encourage us to take a mental trip back in time and imagine what Earth was like thousands, to millions, of years ago. However, if you are not a climate scientist you may wonder how we calculate environmental characteristics like the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or the ocean temperature, for times prior to the collection of instrumental data. The answer is that we use climate proxies.  

Continue reading “Marine microfossils – Earth’s microscopic climate recorders”

Life on the Southern Ocean

The Aurora Australis docked in Hobart
The Aurora Australis docked in Hobart

By Bianca

We are now somewhere around 60 degrees South, heading along Antarctica’s sea ice coastline until we will start breaking through the ice somewhere near Davis station.

We started our journey on the Aurora Australis last Tuesday, already with a two hour delay, due to cargo, and a further delay has occurred due to strong westerly winds. As soon as we left the protecting shores of Tasmania we quickly learned what’s lying in front of us: the forties and fifties of the Southern Ocean, famous for their roughness. Out on the open ocean we immediately hit a stormy sea with swells up to 6 meters. Good thing we all went to bed and our bodies could get used to it during a night sleep. The next day things didn’t seem too bad.

Stormy weather on the Southern Ocean Image: British Antarctic Survey
Stormy weather on the Southern Ocean
Image: British Antarctic Survey

That however only lasted for a day until we hit another stormy weather front with waves up to 12 meters. That afternoon many of us didn’t feel too good and I think I figured out why. If the ship rolls left to right, which is quite normal, everything is fine. As soon as it starts rolling in all directions, i.e. forwards and backwards and up and down, that’s where you find most people in bed… Continue reading “Life on the Southern Ocean”

What collaboration can achieve

8d96f3ad79By Kelly

The perception that the ‘scientist’ sits in an ivory tower with no ability to communicate, let alone work, with others is one of the stereotypes the OnCirculation folks are trying to dismiss. The questions that earth scientists are trying to answer often need multiple teams from multiple countries, all coordinating and pooling resources to push our understanding further. As an example, did you know that we don’t know much about the topography and sea floor structure beneath the Southern Ocean? A recent press release by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany (that I discovered through the Earth Science Picture of the Day, see inset) describes how scientists from 30 research institutes across 15 countries collaborated to reduce 4.2 billion individual values into coherent digital maps of the Southern Ocean seafloor, or officially the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO). Continue reading “What collaboration can achieve”

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